Written by Alexa Grace.
Art by Marta Moreno.
I’ve been (mostly) happily married to my husband for four solid years, and dated him for six before that. We were high school sweethearts, raised in comfortable suburban homes with relatively open-minded families. We have a beautiful child together. I wouldn’t dream of changing our life today.
Over the last few years though, I’ve wondered often if I could change the past.
We were married young, at 23. Lots of people have a feeling of missing out when they marry young. I’ve known a piece has been missing, but I also know I love my husband deeply. I’ve spent years digging into myself trying to find the missing link, where I went wrong. Should I have gone to college? Moved away? Studied abroad? Partied more? Dated around? Maybe if I had been different—better—I would feel more secure. It never occurred to me that all these years, in all my insecurity, in all my questions, the reality was staring me right in the face.
I had assumed every heterosexual woman felt—or that every human being felt, at least partially—attracted to the same sex.
I had assumed every heterosexual woman felt—or that every human being felt, at least partially—attracted to the same sex. Developing a crush on a guy was normal just as getting butterflies over the pretty older girls at school. Every girl had some kind of unplaced tension with certain girlfriends, right? Growing up, I never questioned my attraction to men, and I feel the same today. But women? Wasn’t everyone inherently attracted to women? For the first time in my life, I faced head-on something I never knew needed facing. My relationship has always had a clear path. Boy meets girl, falls in love, gets married, starts a family—girl discovers suppressed bisexuality? Surely it can’t be that.
It was. It was exactly that.
Suddenly, all those kitchen table fights with my midwestern moderate family about LGBTQ folk became much clearer. Those arguments went so much further for me. I fell apart and I couldn’t even explain to myself why. I’ve come to realize that gay is sometimes easier for people to accept than other orientations on the spectrum. For my family, a person could be gay, but bisexual is just attention-seeking. I wasn’t raised religious. My mom votes Democrat. My family doesn’t believe they have the right to tell anyone else how to live, but they certainly don’t understand how a person could be genuinely attracted to both sexes. They’ve never attempted to understand that a person can be born into the wrong body, so trans people are still a punchline in their circles. It’s no surprise that I never allowed myself to be my authentic self with regard to bisexuality. I was raised to think that couldn’t exist. And my parents couldn’t be wrong, because they were accepting, right? They always told me if me or my sister were gay, they’d never judge us. But bisexual? That’s just embarrassing.
So, now, I kind of know who I am, but where do I fit? What do I do? I don’t want a divorce, and I’m too prude for any other scenario. The part of me that wants to explore is terrified. Another part of me wants to run around topless covered in rainbow glitter because, hey, I’m new here and, holy shit, I’m free. I’m free to finally tell my husband about teenage trysts with girls. Free to be attracted to the sight of beautiful men and women, and not correct the thoughts inside my head. Maybe that’s the only piece I’ve been needing. Freedom.
Is Pride for a person who hasn’t faced the scrutiny that comes with being out?
I’ve felt this twinge of dishonesty when it came to Pride. I’ve been an ally in the community for years but have always felt like a fraud. Knowing who I am now, being in a heterosexual marriage, it feels even more fraudulent. Is Pride for a person who hasn’t faced the scrutiny that comes with being out? How do you even come out while in a heterosexual relationship? These are all questions I’m still trying to answer.
Right now, being out for me is having an honest dialogue with my husband about my sexuality—I don’t owe anyone else an explanation of who I am except the person I’m sharing a bed with. Thanks to my immaturity, my best idea for coming out to my husband was to casually drop hints in conversation and mask it with humor (that’s how we deal with everything). Everything finally clicked when I deftly referred to myself as a, “kinda straight—well, not-really-straight woman.” For now, I’ll continue to navigate this person that I am. The person I’ve always been. I’m going to spend time getting to know her, so my kid can one day feel free to know themself. I’m going to try to allow myself to enjoy curiously and be uncomfortable—and hopefully happier. Maybe next time you hear from me, I’ll be topless covered in rainbow glitter.
About the Author
Alexa Grace is a mom, wife, & hair stylist in Atlanta. She’s a lover of all things nerdy. In her free time, you can find Alexa listening to political podcasts & watching true crime docs. In addition to being an amateur writer, Alexa is an activist fighting against voter suppression & for the freedom of the oppressed.